Math has never been a passion or pursuit of mine. I recall tapping out after long devision came onto the scene in 6th grade. I would crying soggy tear droplets onto my homework pages while repeatedly shouting “I can’t do it!” From that point on I had a very anti math based belief system and fought to keep any of that hogwash from making it’s way into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I can do it, like I’m REALLY smart (and beautiful and funny…I mean, I’ve been told or whatever…) but to be forced to do it all throughout my youth was comparative to most methods of torture.
In jr. high I was homeschooled and managed to not do any math whatsoever. This was due to half of the answers being in the back of the book, then the other half I’d just write out some gobblty goop looking like the appropriate jumble of numbers to show my mom that I did my work. Her, also not being a particularly avid “doer of math” just assumed this was accurate in order to avoid having to actually check it herself. This method of learning indeed set me up for a fast track to being bad at/avoiding math at all costs.
We now enter the 9th grade at a public high school. Algebra 1. My lifeline here, was the overview they did at the beginning of every year of what we learned last year, or in my case, never learned at all. I panickily tried to look like I knew what I was doing all while slowly drowning in a pool of figure out what “x” was? I might have been forced to learn something at that point, but was blessed/cursed with the extremely inept and 50% asleep at all times teacher, Mr. Harris.
Mr. Harris was an old man who was just over it. Steering towards the end of his career, and life (I’m assuming) the man had just zero shits to give about anything…other than sports. He was the basketball coach and most likely just taught so that he could be a coach. Teaching us math also got in the way too often of his “booze in coffee cup” induced naps at his desk. We would wait out the hour patiently and quietly in a live action game of “Don’t Wake Daddy” to avoid having to take a test or get an assignment that day. He also thought that having us take “group tests” was a good idea. You take a bunch of teenagers, tell them to take a test in groups of four, and all that will happen is they will corner the one nerd in their group who actually does their work and then copying all of said nerds answers. Another great quality we found was that he was very easily manipulated by athletes. We would tell him that we had a really big soccer game that week so could he please move the assignments due date out for us and he would swiftly oblige, every time. He also had a weakness for recapping the game from the night before if someone so happened to steer the conversation from finding degrees of polynomials to last nights game winning free throw shot. I marched out of that class at the end of the year with an B+, barely able to even spell the word algebra. Hooray math!